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Source : Wikimedia Commons
November 23, 2023
Author : Alex Bustillos
In the early mornings of November 12, Saturday, a big fire was under a section of the I-10 freeway overpass in downtown LA. The probable cause of the fire was an excess of hand sanitizer stored under the underpass.
After being shut down for a week, the freeway was reopened on November 19 in a ceremony attended by Vice President Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom.
The stretch of the I-10 is traversed by over 300,000 vehicles daily. Its cut off delayed the travel through one of the busiest roads in LA.
The fire impacted 100 support columns, but since the damage was not extensive, demolition was unnecessary, as that would have taken almost 6 months to get traffic back on track.
“I want to see something much faster,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “And I have all the confidence in the world of the men and women you see behind me and the pace of their repairs already underway.”
Caltrans authorities have said that the space under the freeway was leased out to Calabasas-based Apex Development. In September, the state filed a lawsuit alleging that Apex had stopped paying rent for the past year while subleasing the property out to at least five other businesses. The burned stretch was piled with large amounts of boxes and wooden pallets under the freeway.
According to Newsom, the fire in the pallet yard that resulted in the closure was probably started on purpose. In a news conference on the same day, Newsom stated that the fire was started inside the fence line of the storage company that operates beneath the freeway. The area was filled with cars, pallets, and other materials.
Caltrans bridge engineers said in a press release that their preliminary tests determined the damages from a massive fire on Saturday were not as severe as they had initially feared. They met with senior management on Monday to provide a damage assessment and the possible timelines for moving traffic again across section 10 of the freeway between Alameda Street and the East LA interchange.
According to the engineer, the outcomes were really good and outlined two possibilities depending on the damaged freeway being shored up and reinforced from underneath.
In the worst situation, lanes will be restored, and parts of the road will remain open to traffic in both directions by gradually removing the shoring, first on the eastbound or westbound side and then on the other. The shoring will remain in place to ensure that all lanes are safe to use while the repairs are being performed, which the engineer said seems likely in the best-case scenario.
However, as per recent reports, the 10 Freeway would be open to the public on November 21. Cars can move in both directions along this stretch. Governor Newsom said that the state had “doubled” the crews to hasten the repair work, which was initially estimated to take 3-5 weeks.
On November 18, authorities released a photo of a “person of interest” associated with the 10 Freeway arson.
The LAPD is constantly monitoring the scene, and CAL Fire has said in a press release that they have identified a man as a possible suspect from nearby footage. He is described as a “6-ft man in his 30s”. He is shown to be wearing a leg brace and having burn injuries on the other leg.
The new opening date is welcomed by motorists facing terrible traffic jams due to road closure.
Category : Freeways and Highways